Being a governor, trustee or board member can be a daunting task. We can help individually and collectively with topics such as:
- Building good relationships among constituencies
- Building accountability into a representative Board
- Appointing the Head of School
- The board chair – Head of School relationship
- How to run a Board meeting
- How to run a community meeting
- How to deal with controversy in the community
Understanding Cultures through Art
This workshop presents representative works (in the widest sense—including performance and artisan materials) from the community along with evocative and instructive examples from other parts of the world. This lavishly-illustrated workshop is designed to heighten awareness of the cultural environment and how it can positively affect the school and the larger community.
Whole school improvement, audits & evaluation
We provide expertise in:
- IB curriculum development, as well as US and other national programmes including IGCSE, GCSE and British Key Stages
- Bilingual and Multilingual Programmes
- Literacy in multiple languages; Early Primary 2nd Language development through mother tongue
- Drafting a school language policy
- Designing and financing a comprehensive language A/Mother tongue programme
- EFL/ESL/EAL Programmes.
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
PWA has extensive experience of designing, coordinating, and leading successful IB Diploma Programmes (IBDP) in a variety of types of school across three continents, from massaging the inherent organisational tensions that can arise when introducing the IBDP, or designing logical and smooth curriculum transition between the IBDP and non-IB national and international pre-DP systems.
IB Authorisation: The application and authorisation process
Andrew and John between them have long and extensive experience both directly within schools as leaders of the teams inaugurating the IB Diploma Programme, and in advising schools during the application and authorisation processes, often leading the official IB authorisation teams. We understand how both sides of the process works; it is most rigorous, and schools that do not meet the IB criteria of standards and practice or which are not regarded as a good matches for the ethos of the IB will be rejected.
Our services include, but are not limited to:
- organising a self-study and completing and submitting the relevant forms
- assisting staff, parents and students through offering on-going assistance and specific training based on insiders’ perspectives on the Diploma Programme
- providing services during the first two years of formal instruction within the programme
- helping subject teachers design and deliver the curriculum
- giving advice on Internal Assessment, along with specialised contextualised advice on the Core of the Diploma programme: the Extended Essay, CAS and Theory of Knowledge.
The IBDP Audit
Improving overall IB Diploma results in schools new to the IB Diploma Programme and in well-established schools.
The global average total IB Diploma score out of 45 in most examination sessions is between 31 and 32 points. The PWA IB Diploma Audit aims to provide a means by which a school can be sure that its students have the best possible chance of the highest possible grades. It is a process whereby the consultant will interview representatives of each department and analyse both results and procedures for Internal Assessment, syllabus options, teaching and approaches to sitting examinations.
A thorough audit, done in cooperation with faculty members, can lead to a prescription for improving approaches to learning and teaching techniques, along with rational adjustments to offerings. If approached sensitively and rigorously, sustainable improved scores should result.
The Five-year Review
Every five years schools must do a self-study and be scrutinised by the IB. This can be a daunting process, even in well-established IB schools. PWA can help the reflective process which can be crucial in making the Review a positive experience which moves the school forward.
What IBDP Courses to Offer?
Making choices about curriculum should reflect the culture, traditions and ambition of your school. It is subtle yet crucial balance that requires significant reflection and vision to get right. Such choices need to be made with a long term vision in mind and will impact on every area of school life; from staff recruitment to retainment, to student enrolment and performance. PWA possesses the experience and insight to help schools make the right choices for the right reasons.
In reflecting on the choice of subjects to offer in the Diploma Programme, it is important that schools think very carefully about a number of variables which can affect the students’ potential for success, such as:
- National University recognition & entrance requirements: some countries’ University recognition systems do not accept certain subjects and/or subject area groups.
- The traditional and/or existing areas of academic excellence in a school and associated plans that are in place to ensure continued excellence in those areas.
- How a school plans to recruit, retain and train teachers.
One of the great strengths of the IBDP curriculum is that each subject area group as well as the “Core” of Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge and CAS, are in a constant process of review, research and development. The review schedule is a collaborative seven year cycle involving teachers and IB staff from around the world. Schools, and in particular Heads and Coordinators, need to be aware of the stage any given subject areas is at.
The Centrality of the Core
Getting the Core right (Theory Of Knowledge, Extended Essay, Creativity Activity Service) is an essential part of providing students with the best chance of the highest possible grades across the hexagon by equipping them with the skills and attributes required to succeed. PWA offers an “IBDP Core” programme which can be tailored towards school specific needs; an enriching, inspiring and worthwhile undertaking for schools and students alike over two to five intensive days, whether at the commencement of students’ diploma programme experience, or at a discreet time during IB1 or bridging the gap between IB1 and IB2, the IBDP Core programme has proven to be.
Theory of Knowledge (TOK): Designing, developing and delivering an effective ToK course
Theory of Knowledge (TOK) should be the most exciting part of the diploma programme. It should inform, enthuse and inspire both as a discrete part of the IBDP and as the “glue” which binds the subject groups and the other elements of the core. Creating a coherent, inspiring TOK programme requires a considerable amount of vision, thought and planning – a quality TOK programme should reflect the context of the school community, their needs, aspirations and indeed, their fears.
TOK can be a dangerous subject if not handled with care; John and Andrew design TOK programmes which combine imagination and rigour in such a way that encourage and facilitate understanding and involvement from all members of the school community.
PWA offers a series of TOK workshops for students, teachers and parents according to your needs over 1-2 days at your school and we also offer twice yearly “TOK retreats” in five star accommodation in Umbria (Italy) and the Cotswolds (UK).
The Extended Essay
The Extended Essay (EE) is a rigorous research based 4000 word essay and a mandatory component of the IBDP. Of the three points available from the marking matrix of TOK and the EE, the annual global mean is around 1.1 points. PWA believes that every student should be achieving the maximum points score for the core, working with staff and students, designing and implementing strategies to ensure familiarity with the central tenets of a successful Extended Essay programme. These include:
- writing a whole school academic policy
- writing an extended essay guide
- using the library
- the librarian as academic leader
- research & time management skills
- knowing the syllabus
- the supervisor – student relationship
- connections to CAS, TOK
- writing the essay
The IB Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) programme is the “heartbeat” of the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP). CAS is where the attributes of the IB learner profile come alive. And just as CAS is one of the three core components of the IBDP, so a coherent and inspiring CAS programme should be at the centre of what happens in a school community. It creates a logical and value rich continuum in the curriculum, recognising that what happens outside the classroom is just as important as what happens within. Through CAS, the values, practices and beliefs of the International Baccalaureate can enthuse, inform and contribute to developing a dynamic school culture.
A strong CAS programme should not be peripheral; it can and should permeate delivery of subjects around the hexagon and can generate excellent links between them. Similarly, links between CAS, ToK and the Extended Essay are too often left unexplored, yet can provide opportunities for deep reflection and associated research on “what it means to be human”.
“Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know; that we are here for the sake of each other, above all, for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we connect with a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labours of others, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received and am receiving.”
- Albert Einstein
PWA has the expertise, experience and vision to help create inspiring CAS programmes. We can help to organise, plan and deliver CAS, from conception to assessment.
The IB Continuum
PWA believes that the curriculum design of all three IB programmes (Middle Years Programme (MYP), Primary Years Programme (PYP), Diploma Programme (DP)) and the dynamic process of research and development which characterises their evolution create the potential in every “all IB school” for an extraordinary teaching and learning experience. However, there are potential impediments to fulfilling the potential of the IB Continuum:
- the physical division between different sections of the school
- traditional and cultural and sometimes legal views on how students of different ages and genders can mix pre-existing teacher cultures, where working in trans-disciplinary and whole school collaborative ways is challenging and new.
PWA works with the whole school as a learning community to design and embed contextualised systems and structures which ensure that the potential of creative relationships along the IB continuum can be realised.
The Middle Years Programme (MYP)
The MYP developed organically in the late Twentieth Century in a group of committed international schools in Europe, and the IB was asked to take it over during the 90s. Since then it has undergone a transformation, without compromising its original ethos. This programme strives to develop independent learning skills and internationalist attitudes in students and at the same time maintain academic rigour. Its philosophical base is very enlightened and strongly values-oriented.
The Middle Years Programme (MYP) Implementation and Authorisation Process
The process for becoming an MYP school is very different from that of obtaining Diploma Programme authorisation. For three years, a school works to introduce the MYP, and when it has the Programme running, it is inspected by a team which will recommend (or not) authorisation. This process is extremely demanding of teachers, and they will need almost unlimited support to arrive at a successful outcome. Our firm has in-depth front line experience at bringing this process to successful conclusions, both at the management/administration end and in the classroom. We can help!
The Diploma Foundation Programme
Bridging a commonly perceived divide between national systems and the IBDP, PWA creates school-based contextualised Diploma Foundation Programmes (DFP) which are designed to establish a logical continuum through the curriculum, marrying the best of existing pre-IBDP curricula in the school with a modified core of the IBDP. The DFP can be implemented across any number of year groups, but most typically is for (UK) years 7-11, (US) grades 6-10.
An example of a successful DFP would be marrying the best of the British Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) programme with the critical thinking inherent to Theory of Knowledge, characterised by ‘student-centred learning’ and Internationalism, the rigours of research based essay writing in the Extended Essay and local, regional and global responsibility through the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) programme. Such a programme addresses core PSHE issues: Sex and Relationship Education; Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco; Bullying; Global Citizenship; Emotional Health and Wellbeing; Nutrition and Physical Activity and Health and Safety, through the lenses of ToK, the EE and CAS. In Key Stages 4 and 5, careers and University applications are incorporated.